Creating Bridges Through Art

As an author and photographer, Anne and Christophe are an unstoppable duo when it comes to showing school children the power of words mixed with photography. These Inside Out Ambassadors have created two Education Actions that explore issues of equality and respect with students.

APRIL, 27TH 2022

In 2019, Anne and Christophe traveled by plane, car, and boat to meet primary school children on Nattes Island, off the east coast of Madagascar. Anne and Christophe’s Action created a bridge between French and Madagascan students for the children to engage in an artistic process together. Before they left France, Anne and Christophe connected with students at a Saint-Etienne youth program who were excited to participate. 

Assisted by facilitators and teachers, Anne and Christophe set up video calls between the students in both countries to discuss the theme: “Respect et Solidarité [Respect and Solidarity]”. The workshops were spread out over ten days and allowed for children of all ages and an ocean apart to collaborate on a Group Action. As a result of their conversations, the participating students chose one or two words that represented what respect and solidarity meant to them. Many of the students connected the theme to ecology, picking words such as “proteger l’océan [protect the ocean],” “la nature [the nature],” “les animaux [the animals].”

Respect et Solidarité • Tamatave, Madagascar • October 2019 • 50 Portraits

During the Action photoshoot, students shared a friendly moment as they helped one another write the words they had chosen on each other’s hands. The children then posed for their portrait with their palms open to the camera. The children learned how to crop the photo and use digital editing tools with the help of their Group Leaders.

Once the portraits were printed, the students were very active in installing their Action. They helped mix the wheat paste and glue their portraits down. In reflecting on their pasting experience, Anne and Christophe recommend choosing a spot that “makes sense, that people can understand.” They choose the square in front of the Alliance Française Ile Sainte-Marie, a place that is often populated and a spot of cultural exchange.

Respect et Solidarité • Tamatave, Madagascar • October 2019 • 50 Portraits

Two years after the success of “Respect et Solidarité,” Anne and Christophe set out to create their second Inside Out Action. This time they were exploring the theme of equality with children in Saint-Étienne, France. They called their Action “Jouns L’Égalité [Let’s Play Equality].” In a conversation, Anne and Christophe explained the title: “A boy can play with a toy considered for girls, and a girl can play with games considered to be boy's games. It was a real success with the children.” Again, they facilitated conversations with the children about their subject. The discussion culminated in the students picking keywords that represent “equality” to them. 

Many of the students were eager to have their portrait taken during the photoshoot. However, one little girl was hesitant––she sat sulking in the back of the room as she watched her peers pose. After they had snapped the last of the students’ portraits Anne and Christophe offered the girl a final opportunity to be photographed. Bravely, “she stood up [and] faced the lens. This is undoubtedly our best portrait,” Anne and Christophe shared. 

Jouons L’Égalité • Saint-Étienne, ARA, France • November 2021 • 49 Portraits

This Action was pasted in on a wall of the Amicale Laïque, a vibrant area opposite the Place du Quartier where the tri-weekly market takes place. Describing the impact, Anne and Christophe said, “[Some] passers-by questioned us, some looked at all the images, others simply passed by. [But] everyone [in the neighborhood] saw the collage. And the message got across. [It was]  very positive.”

After two successful Education Actions completed, Anne and Christophe are now pros at pasting portraits. Their main advice for other Leaders is that “the most important thing is [for] the posters [to] stick well.” They suggest that in addition to applying glue to your wall, you should also “add glue on top [of the portraits] to create a kind of protection, especially [on the corners as] to prevent the wind from tearing the posters.” We agree!

Jouons L’Égalité • Saint-Étienne, ARA, France • November 2021 • 49 Portraits

Anne and Christophe have plans in the works to bring the Inside Out Project to more students. We cannot wait to see how they continue to use the power of paper and glue to connect young people all over the world! To learn more about their Actions, check out the Action pages of “Respect et Solidarité” and “Jouns L’Égalité.”